Resources for Family Caregiver

Fewer People are Getting Diabetes, But the Epidemic Isn’t Over

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The numbers of people newly diagnosed with the disease has decreased for five straight years in a row.

The numbers of people newly diagnosed with the disease has decreased for five straight years in a row.

The number of people newly diagnosed with diabetes continues to decline after decades of increases that transformed what was once a disease of the old into a public health crisis that affects even children.

That’s not to say the crisis is over; 1.4 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in 2014, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s down from 1.7 million new cases in 2009, the fifth straight year of decline (Shute, 12/1).

Read story from NPR here.

 


Share Your Caregiver Story

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Caregivers share their stories of struggle and inspiration while caring for loved ones with chronic disease.

Caregivers share their stories of struggle and inspiration while caring for loved ones with chronic disease.

Today, nearly 66 million Americans are caring for an aged, seriously ill or disabled friend or family member. Read the personal stories of these caregivers on Ask Medicare. And if you have a story, share it.

This site encourages caregivers to share their stories and describe the approaches they are taking to address the many challenges of caregiving. Discussing challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them can help other caregivers facing similar situations.

Stories submitted for consideration should be written as a personal account and be approximately 500 words in length. Please include your name, information about the person you care for, an explanation of how you became their caregiver and how long you’ve been serving in that role. When writing your story, please consider the following:

*Describe creative solutions for dealing with common problems

*Share sources of support and respite that you’ve found valuable

*Offer important lessons you’ve learned as a caregiver

*Provide advice you have for other caregivers

Send your story to CMSCaregiverStories@cms.hhs.gov and include your story in the body of the email, or as a word document attachment. Please also try to include a photo of you with your loved one. While Ask Medicare cannot promise that your story will be posted, all stories received will be reviewed, and new stories will be added on a rolling basis. By submitting your story, you are giving Ask Medicare permission to post it on this Web site.


Maintain a Healthy State of Mind

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Set aside a few minutes every day and think about five large or small things you’re grateful for. Write them down if you like.

Set aside a few minutes every day and think about five large or small things you’re grateful for. Write them down if you like.

The strain of living with illness can make someone weak both physically and emotionally. Whether you are suffering from a disease or providing care to a loved one who is ill, there are things you can do to keep yourself in a healthy state of mind.

Harvard Medical School suggests the following three ways to help yourself be positive and more resilient.

Express gratitude. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have — from a roof over your head to good health to people who care about you. When you acknowledge the goodness in your life, you begin to recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside yourself. In this way, gratitude helps you connect to something larger than your individual experience — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. Set aside a few minutes every day and think about five large or small things you’re grateful for. Write them down if you like. Be specific and remember what each thing means to you.

Leverage your strengths. To reap the benefits of your strengths, you first need to know what they are. Unfortunately, according to a British study, only about one-third of people have a useful understanding of their strengths. If something comes easily to you, you may take it for granted and not identify it as a strength. If you are not sure of your strengths, you can identify them by asking someone you respect who knows you well, by noticing what people compliment you on, and by thinking about what comes most easily to you.

Certain strengths are most closely linked to happiness. They include gratitude, hope, vitality, curiosity, and love. These strengths are so important that they’re worth cultivating and applying in your daily life, even if they don’t come naturally to you.

Savor the “good.” Most people are primed to experience the pleasure in special moments, like a wedding or a vacation. Everyday pleasures, on the other hand, can slip by without much notice. Savoring means placing your attention on pleasure as it occurs, consciously enjoying the experience as it unfolds. Appreciating the treasures in life, big and small, helps build happiness.

Multitasking is the enemy of savoring. Try as you might, you can’t fully pay attention to multiple things. If you’re scanning the newspaper and listening to the radio during breakfast, you’re not getting the pleasure you could from that meal — or the newspaper or radio program. If you’re walking the dog on a beautiful path but mentally staring at your day’s to-do list, you’re missing the moment.

For more information on drawing on your strengths and finding the positive meaning in your life, purchase Positive Psychology, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.